Reality of the past?

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Reality of the past? Empty Reality of the past?

Post  rhodakaye124 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:09 pm

The thing that stuck out to me the most so far in this book is how he keeps pointing out that no one can really know the facts of the past because everyone who records it has a skewed perception. He conveys this idea frequently through his research on this Rollebon guy...he finds himself having to recreate the past himself in the process of writing his book. He realizes that the past can't actually be accessed; once it passes, it's gone, doesn't exist anymore (page 96). But not only does he state this directly, but it shows throughout the entire book that as he is giving direct accounts of what is happening around him, he's subconsciously changing the reality. I also loved the line where he says "But you have to choose: live or tell." I think so many people really do live their lives in a way that they can tell a story about it; honestly, a lot of times I think to myself how I would tell someone else about some event that just occurred in my life, and it's immediately changes from the first account you give of it. I also find this whole "the past doesn't exist" thing particularly interesting because from time to time I DO think about whether or not the past really happened, and maybe I'm just programmed to think that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and that Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Boothe and that the Beatles came over from England. The fact is, number one, if we didn't directly experience something, how do we know if it was actually real? How do we know we're not just believing a lie? And number two, how can we be entirely sure that our memories, the things we DID directly experience, are really real, and not just products of overactive imagination? Maybe I'm just crazy like Sartre/Roquentin over here, but I wouldn't doubt that a lot of people have these kinds of thoughts. Especially in today's technological age, ANYTHING can be manufactured, so how can we ever be entirely sure of what we "know"?

Just some of my thoughts on the subject...

Vaguely Nauseated

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